The Recovery Writer

Documenting The Road To A Recovered Life.

Playtime For Adults | 5 Reasons Why I’m A Big Kid

Playtime is for adults too. 5 reasons why I'm a big kid. Playtime is never over when you are a transman in recovery

Playtime does not have to be over just because childhood has ended. As a transgender man and a recovering addict and alcoholic, my playtime has only just begun! I am well aware that l can be ridiculous at times. I get easily excited when visiting new places and seeing new things. The slightest thing, a  newborn lamb, a soaring seagull, a beautiful flower, any of these can cause me to bounce around with excitement like Tigger.

People often comment on my childlike nature and boundless energy. I think I’m a bit like Marmite, to be honest. My bouncy energy is either cute and endearing or unbecoming and annoying! It’s not my fault, I am brand new, reborn and very excited to be here. Here are five reasons why!

1. I have only been awake since 2010

There was no playtime before 2010; I was a miserable, drunk and stoned mess. I was sleepwalking through my life, numbing myself in a desperate attempt to escape myself.

Not only was I asleep in being anaesthetized with alcohol and weed, but I was also asleep within my soul. I was self-absorbed, I wallowed in self-pity and blamed everything outside myself for the pain I felt. 

When I walked into the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous  (by some miracle I still cannot fully explain) and became clean and sober, my entire perspective changed. I had a dramatic paradigm shift in how I saw the world and my place in it and how I responded to life. With this awakening came a profound gratitude and a desire to make the most of every day.

2. I didn’t start (The correct) puberty until 2011

With a clear head, I was able to get to the bottom of my mental health issues. Surprisingly, (at the time at least, though now I can see it has always been glaringly obvious!) gender dysphoria turned out to be the primary cause of my emotional distress. Despite being assigned female at birth, I was, in fact, a transgender male.  With the support of my recovery program, I was able to find the courage and the support to come out and begin gender transition.

The experience of watching my body change with hormones and surgery is one I cannot adequately describe in words. I am in constant delight at my newly revealed body. The ever-changing reflection in the mirror never ceases to make me grin.

3. I am experiencing the world anew

The combination of my awakening and the birth of my true self, means I am experiencing many things for the first time.

The world is no longer viewed through a hazy filter now I am clean and sober. I see things in crisp bright technicolour. I often stare in awe at an autumn leaf dancing its way across the sky or at an entire field of grass blowing in the wind like fresh green waves, because it is so arresting to my newly awakened senses.

4. My body feels like home for the first time

I started drinking at the age of thirteen, which meant I didn’t learn how to understand or manage my emotions, I drowned them. Now sober, I am also feeling things for the first time.  The depth of feeling I have now is exquisitely varied and intense.

Not only am I feeling emotions, but I am also feeling my entire body. Before I transitioned, my body had been a source of pain, and I dealt with this by detaching from it. Now sober, I am present in my body for the first time in my life. 

The body is the centre of everything we experience. Therefore, when you are not present, you miss so much. Now I am embodied,  I can feel both my internal emotions and the external world interacting with my body. The way my partner’s voice moves through my chest, making my heart swell with joy or the way music penetrates every pore of my being and animates my body. I had no idea I had been missing out on so much. 

5. I am allowing myself the playtime I missed out on

It is thrilling to be awake and to be my true self. I’m learning things and doing things at the age of forty-four that most people do in their childhood. I can look at this in two ways.  The first is to see these as wasted years and be sad and angry. Had I realised I am trans earlier in life, I would have had the chance to be a young man rather than a middle-aged one. 

The second way to look at this is to focus on making the most of the years I still have left to live. That’s not to say I deny myself the grief, acknowledging it is crucial.  However, being bitter and angry will only waste more precious time. Instead, I deal with the grief by transforming its energy from sadness into a determination to suck the marrow out of life. 

This is why I come across an overgrown child and also why I make no apologies for being so! I have a second chance at life. I might be forty-four and my childhood a distant memory, but I can actively choose for my playtime to be right here and right now.

What about yourselves? Have you overcome a difficult time and are making up for it now? Are you just a big kid at heart and proud? What are the ways you make sure you keep playtime in your life? Let me know in the comments below!

Finlay Games is the founder of The Recovery Writer and the host of Finntheinfinncible. He is a freelance writer and speaker for hire, who advocates, informs and inspires on topics of mental health, recovery, gender transition, and sexuality.


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  1. Max Hopper

    Your energy is so fantastic, it is contagious haha! 😀 Sometimes when I’m in a dark mood a story of you can help lift a part of that darkness, so keep on being yourself and sharing it!
    I think it is great how you look at life now, to see where you came from and how you embrace who you are today.

    I recently turned 30 and friends asked me if I found it difficult, but I see it as a sort of rebirth because before this I was so far in my depression and trauma that I was only living for other people. I faked enjoying life and was utterly tired of it every day.
    Now I step into my 30’s finally knowing myself, in transition and finally enjoying life and being content with it most of the time, something I never experienced. And embracing the big kid in myself and dancing in the middle of stores because the song is so great and trowing snow balls (with the weather here now haha).

    Enjoy having the big kid inside you 🙂

    • Max, thank you so much for your incredible comment. That’s exactly what I aim for, to uplift, so I am very glad that is the effect you experience! I also love that you are feeling this wonderful feeling of finally being alive for the first time and cherishing every moment, isn’t it the most incredible emotional experience ever?! Here’s to always being a big kid and finding time to play!

      • Max Hopper

        Haha yes it is the best! As you said it’s like exploring the world all over again, with such more shine to everything then there ever was. It is absolutely wonderful ^^

  2. Thankyou for your posts, I really enjoy reading them and they always make me smile when they turn up in the inbox. Also trans, mentally challenged (as we all are, thankyou DSMV)), and mostly feeling after a lifetime of numbing out. Also, I love to play with the wind with a small kite and puddle jump when the opportunity presents itself. Like the last two weeks 🙂

    Cheers Finn, keep writing, dont doubt that it is hitting the mark, and happy playing.

    • David that is such a lovely comment, thank you so much! It really helps to have feedback like yours, Im still developing my confidence as a writer and knowing I am “hitting the mark” is very reassuring!

      I need a kite in my life!

      Bless you!

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